B-Sides: Phantom of the Paradise for the Hell of It

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And now for a special Halloween treat. Not so much the song or the movie it’s from but the truly horrifying venues from which you will see it performed in the double dip video clips included. Why a double dip? For the hell of it!

Singer/songwriter/actor/cartoon voice actor/game show panelist/you-name-it Paul Williams has had a storied career. He’s penned Oscar-winning songs performed by Barbra Streisand, sung opposite Kermit the Frog, gave voice to The Penguin on “Batman: The Animated Series”, was a regular fixture on game shows like “Hollywood Squares”, wrote the “The Love Boat” theme, and even had his own successful singing and acting career, mostly in his heyday of the 1970’s.

Williams also wrote the Oscar-nominated score for Brian De Palma’s 1974 cult classic Phantom of the Paradise, as well as performed several of the songs from the film, including “The Hell of It”, the song I do believe we’ll be playing at my funeral some day.

Phantom of the Paradise, for those of you sadly uninitiated, is a pure Seventies rock opera remix of Phantom of the Opera and Faust with a little The Picture of Dorian Gray thrown in for good measure. Williams did double duty, both scoring the film and playing its diminutive demonic villain.

Phantom of the Paradise was a flop at the time, becoming one of those movies whose soundtrack was more popular than the movie itself. The song “The Hell of It” was a hit for Williams that led to him performing on television quite frequently.

That brings us to the two musical clips below. “The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries” was a popular show on ABC in the Seventies, and for a special Halloween episode involving Dracula, the commercial segments featured Williams performing songs like “The Hell of It” at a mock Halloween party. This clip is actually pretty awesome, especially the end where Williams puts plastic vampire fangs in his mouth, and the tiny man looks like a James Bond villain that got left in the dryer too long.

The second clip takes things to terrifying new heights. Television doesn’t get much scarier than the horrifically bad “Brady Bunch” variety show on which Williams also soiled himself by showing up to perform “The Hell of It”. I’m sure if you asked Paul Williams why he agreed to appear on such a program he’d probably reply, “For the hell of it.”

And money; can’t discount the money.

B-Sides: Phantom of the Paradise for the Hell of It

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  • DavidFullam

    Phantom really needs a DVD/Blue upgrade.